Danville Quarterback-Receiver Combo Sets Record in Win Over Lewisburg
DANVILLE – Difference makers are what separate the good from the great teams and are what can carry a team deep into the postseason.
While there are still a few more weeks to go to qualify as “deep” in the postseason, Danville appears to have a few of those such difference-makers.
Both Aaron Johnson and Madden Patrick broke District 4 records on Friday as the duo helped the Ironmen shake off a slow start and pick up a 42-3 win over Lewisburg in the District 4 3A semifinal. The Ironmen will host Loyalsock next week in the district championship game.
Johnson caught seven passes for 234 yards and four touchdowns. He ended the night with 27 receiving touchdowns on the season, breaking his former teammate Carson Persing’s previous district and school record of 24 from last season, and tying the state record. Johnson also surpassed Persing’s school record of 1225 receiving yards from last year, ending the night with 1364.
Patrick threw for 401 yards on 17-of-23 passing, and his four touchdown passes gave him 45 on the season, breaking the previous District 4 record of 42 set by Selinsgrove’s Logan Leiby in 2017.
“They’ve been doing it all year long, so they deserve it,” said Danville coach Carl Majer. “The offensive line has been blocking hard and working hard, and everyone has been making plays to give those guys opportunities. Those personal marks are awesome for those guys but it’s a team effort to get us into the district championship.”
Johnson and his speed are largely the difference, particularly in the first half, as Lewisburg ran 37 plays to just 15 for Danville in the opening half.
Lewisburg’s problem is that Danville managed to score two touchdowns on just those 15 plays on a pair of explosive plays made by Johnson.
Lewisburg managed to chew up over half of the first quarter with a 16-play drive, highlighted by 57 rushing yards on nine carries for Jeremiah Davis. But three straight incompletions after Lewisburg had advanced to the Danville 9-yard line ended the drive, and Cohen Hoover missed a 39-yard field goal.
Davis finished the game with 155 yards on 28 carries and went over 1000 yards on the season.
“It’s been awesome to watch him complete after having an ACL and not being able to compete last year,” said Lewisburg coach Eric Wicks. “He’s been our workhorse and it’s been great to have him. Without him, I don’t know where we’d be.”
The Green Dragons then forced Danville into a three-and-out before chewing up the remainder of the first quarter and punting it away on the first play of the second quarter, giving the Ironmen the ball at their own 20.
Patrick hit Johnson down the right sideline, who hauled it in and went off to the races as he left Lewisburg’s defensive back in the background with his speed for an 80-yard touchdown reception.
Lewisburg had to punt again after its subsequent drive stalled near midfield and managed to pin the Ironmen back at their own 2-yard line. But the field was quickly reversed when Johnson made a catch in double coverage and then turned on the afterburners to beat both defenders into the end zone with his speed for a 59-yard touchdown.
“We were moving the ball and had control of the clock but things didn’t go our way and it just put us in a pickle where we couldn’t get the plays that we needed to get,” said Lewisburg coach Eric Wicks. “Johnson is explosive, we missed a few tackles in the open field and if you miss a tackle on him, he’s going to make you pay for it.”
Danville’s next drive stalled on downs at the Lewisburg 17 and the Green Dragons managed to drive down to the Danville 30 with time running out, but got the ball at the Danville 7 with :01 left in the half after a pass interference and unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, and Hoover converted a 24-yard field goal to end the half with Lewisburg trailing 14-3.
Any momentum that the Green Dragons may have had, however, vanished on the first play from scrimmage of the second half, thanks once again to Johnson’s speed. After the second-half kickoff went out of bounds, giving Danville the ball at its own 35, Patrick hit Johnson on a short receiver screen, and Johnson slipped a few tackles near the line of scrimmage and got loose and off to the races once again for a 65-yard touchdown.
“That stung. They came out, we missed a tackle and he took off for a big play and that’s what he does to you,” said Wicks. “Then they just slowed it down and ate the clock and finished it off.”
The Ironmen managed to chew up some clock on their next two possessions, which followed Lewisburg punts, and both ended with Bo Sheptock touchdown runs to go up 35-3 near the end of the third quarter.
“We’ve been making big plays and we’ve got some big-time players but hats off to Lewisburg – they came out and played us very tough,” said Mejer. “We had a half day of school on Thursday and no school today and we didn’t respond very well, but thankfully we’re a second-half team and we made some adjustments at halftime and the kids came out and responded well. We were just flat but the guys woke up and our defense has been playing great.”
Patrick and Johnson put a cap on the evening by connecting for their fourth touchdown pass of the game at the 7:25 mark of the fourth quarter from 13 yards out Patrick was flushed out of the pocket and rolled out to his right before hitting Johnson in the back right corner of the end zone for his state-record tying touchdown catch of the year, which also evoked the mercy rule.
Meanwhile, after running those 37 plays in the first half, Lewisburg managed just 19 plays in the second half, as they had just three first downs in the second half after racking up 11 in the first half. By comparison, Danville ran 29 plays in the second half as the Ironmen ran out the clock after extending their lead. Sheptock had 15 of his 18 carries for 75 yards overall in the second half.
Danville will now meet Loyalsock in the District 4 3A final for the second straight year. It will also mark the third consecutive season the teams have met in the playoffs and the teams’ sixth meeting in the last three years.
“They’re a great football team, they’re going to come in here and give us a battle,” said Majer. “They gave us a great battle the first time we played this year. It’s always hard to beat a team twice. We’re going to have to do our homework and play hard and play some smash-mouth football.”
Danville 42, Lewisburg 3
Lewisburg (6-6) 0 3 0 0 – 3
Danville (11-1) 0 14 21 7 – 42
11:51 – (D) Aaron Johnson 80-yard pass from Madden Patrick (Hoffman kick), 1-80, :11
6:53 – (D) Aaron Johnson 59-yard pass from Madden Patrick (Hoffman kick), 4-98, 2:07
:00 – (L) Cohen Hoover 24-yard field goal, 8-76, 3:46
11:47 – (D) Aaron Johnson 65-yard pass from Madden Patrick (Hoffman kick), 1-65, :13
6:49 – (D) Bo Sheptock 11-yard run (Hoffman kick), 6-62, 2:11
1:35 – (D) Bo Sheptock 1-yard run (Hoffman kick), 11-90, 4:41
7:25 – (D) Aaron Johnson 13-yard pass from Madden Patrick (Hoffman kick), 7-39, 3:37
First downs 14 20
Rushes-net yards 38-163 21-82
Passing yardage 99 401
Passing 7-18-0-0 17-23-4-0
Fumbles-lost 4-2 0-0
Penalties-yards 12-129 8-73
RUSHING: Lewisburg: Jeremiah Davis (28-155), Derek Asche (4-(-23)), Sean Field (2-5), Cohen Hoover (1-25), Jack Blough (1-3), Michael Casale (1-1), Jaylen Walker (1-(-3)); Danville: Bo Sheptock (18-75-2), Madden Patrick (3-7)
PASSING: Lewisburg: Derek Asche (7-18-99-0-0); Danville: Madden Patrick (17-23-401-4-0)
RECEIVING: Lewisburg: Jack Blough (4-90), Charlie Landis (1-8), Jaylen Walker (1-4), Jeremiah Davis (1-(-3)); Danville: Aaron Johnson (7-234-4), Cameron Kiersch (5-71), Carter Raup (3-68), Bo Sheptock (1-21), Cole Duffy (1-7)
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